We're coming to you live from San Pedro, Garza García, in Mexico. I know sometimes I say we live in Monterrey, and I see that this could be pretty confusing. Let me clarify: We live in the Skokie of Monterrey's Chicago, and that Skokie's name is San Pedro, Garza García.
For a girl who's always been a suburban-ite, it's a little less daunting to live in San Pedro than the city proper. Particularly with the traffic. We're on the other side of a mountain from actual Monterrey, which might make it seem to you like we're eons away, but it's really like a 10 minute drive to the tunnel that would take us there.
If you're one of our Mexican friends reading this, let me be really clear that I am not slamming living in Monterrey, or Apodaca, or San Nicolas, or Guadalupe, or any other spot over yonder (I was actually pointing toward the city as I typed that, then realized that NO ONE CAN SEE ME). I'm more slamming my own inability to live in a crowded city-type place, and I'm a big scaredy-pants about driving like a crazed hellion. Truths. I tell them.
There are some definite pros and cons to living over here.
- Pro: SP has a big population of ex-pats. Which is not to say that everyone here is American - you're likely to run into Italians, Germans, and Japanese corporate execs on a pretty regular basis. English tends to be the internationally recognized language of business, and that tends to show up in really helpful places here.
- Con: Because the businesses of San Pedro know that all these ex-pat people are typically higher up, the cost of living can be astronomical.
- Pro: As Fiance would say "We're in the only city in Latin America that has a Lambourgini, Mazarati, and Ferrari dealership all in the same city." I guess that's a very Fiance type of pro, it doesn't really affect me. But it is interesting to walk down the street past a Cartier Diamond, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana Store all in the same row.
- Con: Businesses here expect that you're rich enough to pay someone to do everything for you (or to pay for anything above). So why would you need pieces and parts of a whole? You wouldn't. This includes crafts, sewing, etc. There is one store this side of the mountain that has a section for "fashion fabrics," and there is nowhere to find paint or basic tools. Not even a home depot.
- Pro: Literally everything delivers. If I wanted, I could call Wal-Mart and they would deliver our groceries. You can order beer and booze to be brought to your house for a party. We could call a groomer that would pick up Mac and Bubba and bring them back in a few hours smelling pretty and with trimmed nails. Of course, all of these things cost a pretty penny, but we take a lot of pleasure in having taco delivery at our fingertips.
- Con: If your car doesn't have enough hitch in it's giddy-up, you're not making it up the mountain you live on. Especially if it's raining.
- Pro: The selection of international cuisine here is awesome. The sushi is of particular quality thanks to the high concentration of Japanese businessmen.
- Con: Unlike every neighborhood on the other side of the mountain, there are no taco/flauta/churro carts on every corner. In fact, it's kinda hard to find good Mexican food in San Pedro.
- Pro: Living in the mountains will occasionally give you the days when you can look out your window and literally say "I am living in the clouds." Just like a care bear. Which makes my inner kid of the 80's soul happy.
- Con (and post topic): When people live in money, they are most certainly not leaving the house looking anything less than perfectly groomed.
Do you know me in real life? Have you ever seen me in anything other than a hooded-sweatshirt and jeans (business casual for work or going to a wedding does not count)? A hoodie and jeans has been my standard uniform since college. Comfy, you can move in it, and if you're struck with an urge to suddenly be super artsy, you don't have to fret too much if you spill paint on yourself.
Women here wear customarily 6-inch stilettos to go to Wal-Mart.
That is not an exaggeration.
Generally speaking, Fiance and I don't buy into this need to be dressed to the nines every time we step out of the house. Though I've noticed he's much less apt to wear a t-shirt if we're going to dinner (and he always wears cologne), even if it's Burger King. I won't go out without makeup and my hair dried into something passing as a style.
But every once in a while we just break down. In an effort to flipping FIT IN for a night, we'll go full-tilt. Have you ever herd of the phrase "Fake it until you make it?" I feel like living here leaves us in a constant cycle of trying (see previous post on my feeble attempts to make tortillas).
Fiance just bought new leather shoes (leather and the shoe industry are big in Monterrey), so we needed to break them in. Saturday seemed as good a night for this as any. So Saturday afternoon I was all, meh, I'll hop in the shower and be ready to go in like an hour. LIES.
How many products do you use getting in and out o the shower for a night out? Because this little exercise lead me to actually make a count.
- Body wash
- Face wash
- Shaving cream
- Face wash
- Oil for hair roots
- Oil for hair tips
- Heat protectant for when drying hair
- Hair mousse
- Hair spray
- Foot cream
- Face lotion
19?! Are you kidding me? And that is to say nothing of the razor, loofah, hair dryer, curling iron, pumice stone, nail clippers/ files/ paints, and oodles of make-up that also got dragged out of the cupboard for this excursion. There is so much to process.
First, and most importantly, there is some kind of wickedly scathing remark about the state of true feminism and societal expectations on women. But I don't want to get into that one here.
Second. It took me 2.5-3 hours to wade through all that and actually be "ready." How the hell do the women of San Pedro do this every stupid day?
Third, and I am not the only person to have ever had this thought, I know - but where is the women's all-in-one? Men have had their shampoo/conditioner/body wash combined with moderate success. Why hasn't anyone engineered a moisturizing soap that would safely clean and condition your hair and skin, perhaps presented in a coconut-lime scented bar-form which comes attached to a double sided loofah? One side that would help work that soap into a lather, and one side that would shave your legs for you. God I hate shaving my legs. I don't think I'v ever successfully shaved my legs. There is always at least one measly 1" square patch of skin somewhere that I miss, and it will be the first thing I notice after I have just finished getting dressed.
So 3 hours, 19+ "beauty products," a little blue dress, and one really annoying internet tutorial on "smoky eyes" later, and ba-dah-bing, I go from this:
(Bubba is... less than pleased.)To this:
Being able to scroll through it that fast... it's a fun transformation certainly.
We had a blast Saturday night. Generally speaking, we hit the MAKE portion of Fake it til you Make it square on the head. By the time we got home, I was convinced that we needed to "fake it" on a much more regular basis.
Then we went to sleep.
And when we got up Sunday, I realized that after the already 3+ hour investment in looking good for the night, I was not willing to put in the hour+ of scrubbing the raccoon-remains of my mascara off my face on anything approaching a regular basis.
Sure makes for a good "Grumpy Coffee" picture though, doesn't it?
Are you a Plain-Jane/ Tom Boy/ other nickname used to insinuate a gal who has better things to do than trowel makeup on her face every day?
How often do you gussy up?
Is it something you enjoy on occasion?
'cause I did enjoy it a little. I mean, who doesn't want to look good?
RANDOM SECTION TIME
1. I've been working on the Save the Dates for our wedding. Which has become slightly daunting in that, when you have an art background, you (or at least I) imagine that people receiving said Save the Dates expect them to be amazeballs. Preview? Erm... sure a little one:
That's the front. Or... some of the front. I really like this typeface. If you don't, please don't tell me.
2. While I was typing that, I tried to shorten Save the Dates by calling them STDs. "...people receiving said STDs..." Uh, yep, that isn't gonna fly.
3. I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but I have been rocking out to some 90's-era music gold in the last few days. Today it's been N*SYNC. Specifically, the remix of Girlfriend with Nelly, and Digital Getdown. For no other reason than I totally had that CD when I was like 14, and it makes me giggle to think now that I had NO idea what the lyrics I was singing along to meant. HA.